Typically, in times of crisis, most brands fail in their communications before the crisis explodes not during or after it happens. Then, long after the explosive facts are out, whatever a brand does to quell the unfortunate act never seems to be quite enough.
And today, in this ever changing and rapidly growing Social Media Marketing environment we all live in you can get yourself into a whole bunch of trouble.
Two cases in point…Tiger Woods and Toyota.
On Tiger Woods’ Web site, you’d think nothing’s wrong with his brand.
You can read all about Brand Tiger’s accomplishments and of course buy a ton of stuff. On Facebook, you can also buy Tiger’s Stuff, but 1.3 million fans can’t communicate via Facebook anymore. Well they can (sort of) to posts back in November, but Tiger has not responded. Plus all I can see are positive notes of support. Is Brand Tiger jsut keeping the good and editing out the bad?
Tiger’s been “off the Facebook air” since November 6, 2009. In fact, when you click through to Facebook at times there are no comments since. Tiger is supposedly hiding out in a sex rehab bunker..I mean clinic…so why no more news? An apology? A simple update?
Now Toyota is underway with its largest recall ever and has looked foolish and disorganized in its scrambled up mess of communications. Sure they’ve been “backpeddling” (no pun inteneded) off and online and its certainly not easy while battling legal, economic and staff issues, but tough, they’re a big boy company.
But, you’d think Toyota like Tiger would know better.
Toyota only has about 77,000 Facebook fans and you’d think they’d have a ton more than Ford (79,000), Chevrolet (65,000) and Subaru (31,000 – would have thought they’d have a lot more) and other but they don’t. Heck, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has an amazing 467,000 Facebook fans.
Both Brand Tiger and Brand Toyota Web sites all talk about how great their brands are with no or little regard to their misgivings and what they’re doing to fix things.
Why was it so hard for both brands to fess up early and often – not to mention…don’t do bad things in the first place!
So much about crisis management is learned by all of us at a young age – well, hopefully its taught to us by good, caring parents – such as:
- Be good
- Don’t lie
- If you do something bad (we all do), own up to it immediately in person, apologize and say you’re sorry and promise to make things (and do them) better and promise to not repeat your behavior
When you were a kid, wasn’t your punishment greater and more harsh when you put off owing up to it?
In these ever changing times of social media marketing, it’s more important than ever to have a crisis management plan, because something bad will happen to your Brand – it’s not a matter of if, it’s when.
Here are a few crisis management rules to follow:
- You never make friends in crisis, so build your friendship databases and trust bank deposits NOW
- Create and continue to work on extensive, ongoing social media outreach efforts
- If/when something happens bad to Brand You (Company), come clean, be visible and approachable and meet things head-on.
- Tough times never last, but tough people do. To that point, when times get tough you need to reach out to you loyal fans, customers, employees, vendors etc., but you need to create that fan base and it doesn’t happen overnight
- The best PR campaign and highest paid strategists can’t prevent all of the mudslinging and brand damage – preventive maintenance is key
Take a lesson from David Letterman’s confession here. Brilliant!
As a wise man once said to me, “That fish wouldn’t be on the wall, if it didn’t open it’s mouth!”